The Color Purple Character List.
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Celie is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. She is a poor, uneducated black woman with an abusive husband. As an adult, Celie befriends and finds intimacy with a blues singer, Shug Avery, who gradually helps Celie find her voice. By the end of the novel, Celie is a happy, independent woman.
Nettie continued- Nettie becomes the caretaker of Samuel and Corrine’s adopted children(who Nettie later learns, are Celie’s and biological children, whom Celie and Nettie’s stepfather stole and subsequently sold) and faithfully writes letter to Celie for decades. Nettie’s experiences in Africa broaden the novel’s scope, introducing issues of imperialism and pan-African struggles.
Mr. ____ continued- After Celie finally defies Mr. ____, denouncing him for his abuse, he undergoes a deep personal transformation, reassessing his life and eventually becoming friends with Celie.
Sofia – A large, fiercely independent woman who befriends Celie and marries Harpo. Sofia refuses to submit to whites, men, or anyone else who tries to dominate her. After defying the town’s mayor, Sophia is sentenced to twelve years in jail, but the sentence is later commuted to twelve years labor as the mayor’s maid. The hardship Sofia endures serves as a reminder of the costs of resistance and the difficulties of combating cultural and institutional racism.
Squeak eventually undergoes a transformation much like Celie’s. She demands to be called by her real name, Mary Agnes and she pursues a singing career.
Samuel – A minister who, along with his wife, Corrine, adopts Celie’s biological children, Oliva and Adam. A wise, spiritually mature black intellectual committed to “the uplift of black people everywhere,” Samuel takes Corrine, Nettie, and the children to Africa for missionary work. He tells Nettie the story that makes her realize Alphonso is her stepfather rather thatn her biological father. After Corrine’s death, Samuel marries Nettie.
While still in Africa, Corrine dies from a fever, opening the opportunity for Nettie and Samuel to marry.
By marrying Tashi, Adam symbolically bridges Africa and America, and his respect for and deference to her subverts patriarchal notions that women are subordinate to men.
Miss Millie- the wife of the mayor of the town where Celie lives. Miss Millie is racist and condescending, but she admires the cleanliness and good manners of Sofia’s children, so she asks Sofia to be her maid. Sofia replies, “Hell no,” and is sent to jail, then to Miss Millie’s, where she ends up working as her maid after all.
Grady – Shug’s husband. Grady is a loving and sweet man, but also a womanizer. He spends Shug’s money flamboyantly and frequently smokes marijuana. When Grady and Squeak begin an affair, Shug seems relieved to be ride of any responsibility to her relationship with Grady.